The way Apple chooses to announce new things acts as a strong signal about how they should be perceived. Apple set expectations for yesterday’s news by updating the website and sending out press releases. They did not call the press to a media event.
That’s not to say these announcements wouldn’t have featured in a keynote, if Apple had hosted one. The red iPhone color is a big deal; the first new iPhone color ever to be launched outside of the yearly refresh cycle. Apple executives could have waxed lyrical for a solid five minutes about how good it looks and how they are helping to battle AIDS in their partnership with PRODUCT(RED).
They also would have had ample opportunity to demo the new Clips app live with some cheesy videos courtesy of Craig Federighi, and expounded upon Apple’s efforts in education and business to introduce the $329 iPad.
However, Apple could not (and did not) make a keynote out of just the products they released yesterday; a $329 old-design iPad, new Watch band colours, the Clips app, and a red iPhone. None of those are the main course of an event.
Perhaps Apple had originally planned to do a spring event to feature new iPad Pros, especially the widely-reported 10.5-inch bezel-less model. It would have incorporated the red iPhone and the $329 iPad as part of that event. Then, a spanner in the works meant the iPad Pro releases would have to wait. Alternatively, maybe the Pros were always scheduled for later in the year.
Either way, the fact Apple felt the need to announce some stuff standalone yesterday strongly suggests to me that a 2017 spring event is not going to happen. If there was going to be an April event, Apple would have held the red iPhone unveiling for that stage. They didn’t — so it follows there is nothing to hold it back for. I would bet Apple has nothing more to say about new stuff until June, with WWDC.
For even more supporting evidence to this, look at the Clips app. It’s an independent piece of software, there are no pressures from the supply chain about fixing down dates. Apple has the freedom to announce it and release it whenever they want, on a whim. Apple chose to announce Clips yesterday … yet it doesn’t launch until ‘early April’. That means there can’t be an Apple event in early April, otherwise Apple would have kept it under wraps for a few more weeks and demoed it for the first time at the event.